THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in checks may be on their way to citizens as a governor seeks congressional authorization to spend $2 billion in unclaimed American Rescue Plan funds.
Governor Tom Wolf is hoping for a portion of the funds to be returned to Pennsylvanians in the form of a $2,000 stimulus payment.
The one-time checks would be comparable to those pushed by former President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden during the pandemic’s height, but would be distributed state by state.
Wolf noted during Thursday’s press conference that “working families have been strained.”
“Their wallets have been pushed to the limit. They’ve been pushed to the brink by recent massive price increases.”
Wolf’s plan calls for households to receive a payment from the Pennsylvania Treasury.
He urged Republican members of the state House and Senate to act, claiming that he would use unused federal pandemic funds rather than emergency funding or the existing budget.
Wolf asserts that the funds must be spent by 2024 or they will expire.
“If we do not use it, we must return it to Washington, and now is the time to use it,” he explained.
Wolf stated that families throughout the state have been “put in an extremely difficult position.”
“The good news is that we are able to assist at the moment.”
Under the Pennsylvania Opportunity Plan, households earning $50,000 or less would receive a one-time $2,000 payment. According to KDKA, those earning $50,000 to $80,000 will receive $1,500.
State Senator Tina Tartaglione, the bill’s sponsor, stated that the funds could be used for anything.
“Childcare and after-school programmes, education and workforce development, rental or mortgage assistance, home maintenance, transportation and petrol tank filling, broadband and utility assistance, and medical bill copays,” she added, noting that these programmes may also benefit local businesses.
“The funds are immediately reinvested into the local economy.” The funds will be injected directly into the economy, allowing some of the struggling businesses to resume operations.”
Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward stated that she was unaware of the proposal until recently and would like to learn more about it.
If authorised, the checks would come directly from the state treasury and would not be taxed as income.
Delaware legislators passed a bill on Thursday that will provide up to $300 in payments to thousands of qualified individuals.
Delaware residents who filed a 2020 tax return will receive the funds, according to the state.
Individuals will qualify for a $300 credit, while married couples filing jointly will qualify for a $600 credit.
Senior citizens and residents who did not earn enough money to file a tax return are eligible.
The lump-sum payments are intended to help compensate for rising living expenses and inflation.
The bill has been signed by Governor John Carney.
“Delaware residents are paying a higher price at the supermarket and at the gas pump,” Carney added.
“Every taxpayer I’ve ever spoken to expects us to manage their money responsibly and sustainably over the long term.”
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“These direct payments to Delaware households are part of a larger, prudent budget proposal that would invest in education, the economy, and Delaware communities while also building reserves to assist our state in the future.”
Residents who have already filed their 2020 personal income tax returns should receive funds by the end of May, according to MPs.